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He also uncovered a 1969 West German foreign ministry memo warning of the "virulent covetousness of our current partners and former enemies" on the reparations.
To date, the document said, repayments had been postponed thanks to the 1953 London debt agreement and the efforts of the US government. The recommendation: Germany's "opponents in the last war" are to be "put off ad kalendas Graecas" - effectively to the day when pigs fly.
"It has to be in our interest to preserve this in-between situation for as long as possible in light of the outstanding peace treaty," the memo concludes, "to then put off repayments [citing] forfeiture through time limitations."
Fleischer says this is precisely what happened. The West German ambassador to Athens said in 1988 that the forced loan was frozen because of ongoing German division, while the Bonn foreign ministry in 1990 issued a 26-page memo to embassies filled with arguments as to why the claim had expired.
Seems this is an argument which cannot be so handily dismissed.
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